During the Sui Dynasty, there was a Taoist monk named Pu’an in the Terminal South Mountain who was well respected and loved by the people. Wherever he appeared, it must be a place where people and horses gathered.
His Family was poor, but his heart was not poor
One day, Pu An and many monks came to Dawan village. There was a family named Tian in Dawan village. Due to the poverty of the family, the four daughters of the Tian family were all poorly clothed.
The daughter of the Tian family was named Hua Yan and was twenty years old. When she heard that the monk Pu An had come to the village, she wanted to make offerings to the monk. Huayan looked around the hut and saw that there were only two feet of coarse cloth in the house and nothing could be taken to support the monk.
Huayan was sad that her family was really poor and lamented that she had not made more blessings in her previous Life. She looked up and could not help crying with grief and anger. Suddenly, she saw a clump of dried grass stuck in a hole on the beam of the house. Taking it down, she found ten grains of rice corn in it.
Although there were only a few grains of rice, she ground off the bran with all her heart and gave it to the monk, together with the two feet of coarse cloth. Hua Yan looked down and saw that she could not go out because she had no clothes to cover her body. So she waited until after dark and quietly crept near the monk’s room, put down the coarse cloth, and put the grains of rice into the rice bucket.
Sincere offerings The corn turned golden brown
She prayed silently, “Because I was greedy and stingy in my previous life, I have suffered such a bitter reward in this life. Now, I plead and repent sincerely before the Buddha. With these meager items, I offer them to all the monks. From now on, if my sins of poverty have been repaid, may the grains of rice in the retort (pronounced gift, an ancient cooking vessel for steaming Food) all turn golden.” After saying this, Hua Yan wiped away his tears and quietly went Home.
The next morning, people saw that all the rice in the retort had turned golden brown. When the people inquired, they realized that the poor woman had made the nightly offering and praised her for her sincerity. When a righteous man heard about this strange story, he helped the poor Tian family. The eldest daughter, Hua Yan, eventually became a monk.
Some people once wondered how the poor girl’s sins in her previous life could be removed by such a small almsgiving, since she was not giving out Gold and silver. In response, Zhou An-shi of the Qing Dynasty said, “Although it is only two feet of cloth and ten grains of rice, for Hua Yan, the daughter of the field, it is her entire family fortune. How can the sins of that previous life not be removed?”
The widow’s temple offering of small money was praised by Jesus
There is a similar episode in the story of the Bible.
A poor widow came to the temple and put her only two small coins into the alms box. When Jesus saw this, he said to the crowd that the widow had put in more money than any other person. For all the people gave because they had extra money to give. But not this widow, she put in all her money that she depended on for a living.
The story of the poor woman giving ten grains of rice took place in the Sui Dynasty, and the story of the widow’s temple offering took place more than two thousand years ago when Jesus was still alive. Although the languages and beliefs of the East and the West are different, the heart of sincerity and goodness shines just as brightly in all cultures and all times.
- “The Complete Book of Anshu: If you want to expand the field of blessings, you have to rely on your heart”.
- Luke 21